I Thessalonians 1:1-10 Turning to God

 1 THESSALONIANS 1:1-10

1Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace.

2We always give thanks to God for all of you and mention you in our prayers, constantly 3remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. 4For we know, brothers and sisters beloved by God, that he has chosen you, 5because our message of the gospel came to you not in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of persons we proved to be among you for your sake. 6And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for in spite of persecution you received the word with joy inspired by the Holy Spirit, 7so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. 8For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but in every place your faith in God has become known, so that we have no need to speak about it. 9For the people of those regions report about us what kind of welcome we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols, to serve a living and true God, 10and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead — Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath that is coming.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Spend 5 to 15 minutes in silent meditation, paying close attention to the breath.
  • Allow yourself to soak in the gift of grace.  God has chosen you.
  • God has chosen you.
  • God has chosen you.
  • As these words permeate your spirit.  Where in your body can you feel the peace?  God has chosen you.
  • From this place of peace, turn toward God.
  • I choose God.
  • I choose God.
  • I choose God.
  • Let go of other idols that get in your way.
  • I choose God.
  • I choose God.
  • I choose God.
  • Rest in the peace of God.
  • Give thanks for God’s peace and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.
Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, October 16, 2011,  the Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A
Exodus 33:12-23
Psalm 99:1-9
I Thessalonians 1:1-10
Matthew 22:15-22
If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author.
Permission to use in not-for-profit settings The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD

Exodus 12:1-14 Mother God, the Burning Bush

Shraga Weil "s-245 The Burning Bush" 1990

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you
  • Spend 3 to 5 minutes allowing yourself to open to this piece of art.  What images of God do you see?
  • How do these images speak to your spiritual journey?
  • What is burning in you?
  • Is there a message for you from God?
  • Spend 3 to 5 minutes as you go back to this piece of art.
  • Are you drawn to the same image or another image?
  • What is burning in you?
  • Is there a call to action for you?
  • Give thanks to God for this time in prayer to encounter God in the burning bush and to any new freedom you have experienced.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, September 4,  the Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A

Exodus 12:1-14
Psalm 149
Romans 13:8-14
Matthew 18:15-20
If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author.
Permission to use in not-for-profit settings Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD.

Matthew 16: 13-20 Who do you say I am?

Matthew 16: 13-20 (The Message)

13 When Jesus arrived in the villages of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “What are people saying about who the Son of Man is?” 14 They replied, “Some think he is John the Baptizer, some say Elijah, some Jeremiah or one of the other prophets.” 15 He pressed them, “And how about you? Who do you say I am?” 16 Simon Peter said, “You’re the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus came back, “God bless you, Simon, son of Jonah! You didn’t get that answer out of books or from teachers. My Father in heaven, God himself, let you in on this secret of who I really am. 18 And now I’m going to tell you who you are, really are. You are Peter, a rock. This is the rock on which I will put together my church, a church so expansive with energy that not even the gates of hell will be able to keep it out. 19 “And that’s not all. You will have complete and free access to God’s kingdom, keys to open any and every door: no more barriers between heaven and earth, earth and heaven. A yes on earth is yes in heaven. A no on earth is no in heaven.” 20 He swore the disciples to secrecy. He made them promise they would tell no one that he was the Messiah.

  • Light a candle remembering Christ’s presence with you.
  • Spend 5 to 15 minutes in silent meditation, allowing your deep breathing to guide you.
  • Imagine Jesus in your presence.  He asks, “Who do you say I am?”
  • What is your reply?
  • Allow these words to sink deeply within you.
  • Hear Jesus say, “God bless you, (insert YOUR name), beloved child of God!”
  • Allow these words to sink deeply within you.
  • Hear Jesus say, “I am going to tell you who you are, really are.”
  • What words do you hear?
  • Hear Jesus also say, “And that’s not all.  You will have complete and free access to God’s kingdom, keys to open any and every door: no more barriers between heaven and earth.”
  • All these words to sink deeply within you.
  • What do you notice within you?
  • Give thanks to God that we no longer must keep the secret of the Messiah, for the Messiah has died for us and has been raised for us.
  • What is it that you wish to tell?  Who will listen?
  • Give thanks to God for the messages you receive and for the strength to share the good news.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.
Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, August 21, 2011,  the Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A
Exodus 1:8 – 2:10
Psalm 124
Romans 12:1-8
Matthew 16:13-20
If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author.
Permission to use in not-for-profit settings Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD.

Jesus Took Peter by the Hand…praying with the art of Robin Jensen


Robin Jensen

Jesus Took Peter by the Hand…

I sink deeper…

I flail my arms, Grasping for salvation… 
Hope… 
The taste of bitter sea water…
fish… 
A fisherman who can't swim.

Something takes hold of my hand… 
The hand of Jesus! 
He pulls me back into the bouncing boat, 
Back with the Shining Light.

The wind dies down… 
My heart calms down… 
Why did I doubt? 
Why didn't I trust the love of God?

I'm still that simple fisherman… 
A sinner. 

Matthew 14:31
  • Light a candle to recognize Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit in a comfortable place where you can see the art.  Place your hands palms up in front of you in a position to receive.
  • Spend five minutes in prayer engaging with the art.
  • What word, phrase, or feeling captures your attention?  
  • Spend another five minutes in prayer engaging with the art.
  • What message does God have for you?
  • Spend another five minutes in prayer engaging with the art.
  • What call to action do you hear?
  • Give thanks to God for this time in prayer through imagination and for any new messages you receive.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, August 7 2011,  the Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A
Genesis 37:1-4, 12-28
Psalm 105:1-6, 16-22, 45b
Romans 10:5-15
Matthew 14:22-33
If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author.
Permission to use in not-for-profit settings Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD.